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      Geographic disparities in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) hospitalization among Medicare beneficiaries in the United States

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          Abstract

          Background:

          Hospitalizations for persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) result in significant health care resource use and excess expenditures. Despite well-documented sociodemographic disparities in COPD outcomes, no study has characterized geographic variations in COPD hospitalization across the US.

          Methods:

          Almost 3.8 million COPD hospitalization records were extracted from Medicare claims for 1995–2006, and the total population of eligible Medicare beneficiaries was extracted from the Medicare enrollment records to calculate COPD hospitalization rates by Health Service Area (HSA), (n = 949). Spatial cluster analysis and Bayesian hierarchical spatial modeling were used to characterize the geography of COPD hospitalizations.

          Results:

          The overall COPD hospitalization rate was 11.30 per 1,000 beneficiaries for the aggregated period 1995–2006. HSA-level COPD hospitalization rates had a median of 11.7 and a range of 3.0 (Cache, UT) to 76.3 (Pike, KY). Excessive hospitalization risk was concentrated in Appalachia, the southern Great Lakes, the Mississippi Delta, the Deep South, and west Texas. In the Bayesian spatial mixture model, 73% of variability of COPD hospitalization relative risk was attributed to unidentified regional social and physical environments shared by HSAs rather than to unique local HSA factors (27%).

          Conclusion:

          We discovered distinct geographic patterns in COPD hospitalization rates and risks attributed to both regionally-shared environmental risk factors and HSA-unique environmental contexts. The correlates of these geographic patterns remain to be determined. Geographic comparisons of COPD hospitalization risk provide insights for better public health practice, policies, and programs for COPD prevention.

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          Most cited references 30

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          COPD and chronic bronchitis risk of indoor air pollution from solid fuel: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

          Over half the world is exposed daily to the smoke from combustion of solid fuels. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the main contributors to the global burden of disease and can be caused by biomass smoke exposure. However, studies of biomass exposure and COPD show a wide range of effect sizes. The aim of this systematic review was to quantify the impact of biomass smoke on the development of COPD and define reasons for differences in the reported effect sizes. A systematic review was conducted of studies with sufficient statistical power to calculate the health risk of COPD from the use of solid fuel, which followed standardised criteria for the diagnosis of COPD and which dealt with confounding factors. The results were pooled by fuel type and country to produce summary estimates using a random effects model. Publication bias was also estimated. There were positive associations between the use of solid fuels and COPD (OR=2.80, 95% CI 1.85 to 4.0) and chronic bronchitis (OR=2.32, 95% CI 1.92 to 2.80). Pooled estimates for different types of fuel show that exposure to wood smoke while performing domestic work presents a greater risk of development of COPD and chronic bronchitis than other fuels. Despite heterogeneity across the selected studies, exposure to solid fuel smoke is consistently associated with COPD and chronic bronchitis. Efforts should be made to reduce exposure to solid fuel by using either cleaner fuel or relatively cleaner technology while performing domestic work.
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            Household Air Pollution from Coal and Biomass Fuels in China: Measurements, Health Impacts, and Interventions

            Objective Nearly all China’s rural residents and a shrinking fraction of urban residents use solid fuels (biomass and coal) for household cooking and/or heating. Consequently, global meta-analyses of epidemiologic studies indicate that indoor air pollution from solid fuel use in China is responsible for approximately 420,000 premature deaths annually, more than the approximately 300,000 attributed to urban outdoor air pollution in the country. Our objective in this review was to help elucidate the extent of this indoor air pollution health hazard. Data sources We reviewed approximately 200 publications in both Chinese- and English-language journals that reported health effects, exposure characteristics, and fuel/stove intervention options. Conclusions Observed health effects include respiratory illnesses, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, weakening of the immune system, and reduction in lung function. Arsenic poisoning and fluorosis resulting from the use of “poisonous” coal have been observed in certain regions of China. Although attempts have been made in a few studies to identify specific coal smoke constituents responsible for specific adverse health effects, the majority of indoor air measurements include those of only particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and/or nitrogen dioxide. These measurements indicate that pollution levels in households using solid fuel generally exceed China’s indoor air quality standards. Intervention technologies ranging from simply adding a chimney to the more complex modernized bioenergy program are available, but they can be viable only with coordinated support from the government and the commercial sector.
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              COPD: epidemiology, prevalence, morbidity and mortality, and disease heterogeneity.

               D. Mannino (2002)
              COPD continues to cause a heavy health and economic burden both in the United States and around the world. Some of the risk factors for COPD are well-known and include smoking, occupational exposures, air pollution, airway hyperresponsiveness, asthma, and certain genetic variations, although many questions, such as why < 20% of smokers develop significant airway obstruction, remain. Precise definitions of COPD vary and are frequently dependent on an accurate diagnosis of the problem by a physician. These differences in the definition of COPD can have large effects on the estimates of COPD in the population. Furthermore, evidence that COPD represents several different disease processes with potentially different interventions continues to emerge. In most of the world, COPD prevalence and mortality are still increasing and likely will continue to rise in response to increases in smoking, particularly by women and adolescents. Resources aimed at smoking cessation and prevention, COPD education and early detection, and better treatment will be of the most benefit in our continuing efforts against this important cause of morbidity and mortality.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-9106
                1178-2005
                2011
                2011
                08 June 2011
                : 6
                : 321-328
                Affiliations
                National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: James B Holt, Division of Adult and Community Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mailstop K-67, 4770 Buford Highway, NE, Atlanta, GA, USA 30341, Tel +1 770 488 5510, Fax +1 770 488 5965, Email jgh4@ 123456cdc.gov
                Article
                copd-6-321
                10.2147/COPD.S19945
                3119107
                21697996
                © 2011 Holt et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                population, public health, environmental risk factors, copd prevention

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